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What Is The Difference Between Non-polarized Lenses & Polarized Lenses?

As opticians and dispensers, one of the most common questions we hear, when helping our patients choose the right sun protection is; “What is the Difference between non-polarized lenses and polarized lenses?” And “Do they really make a difference in the quality of my sunglasses?” Our main goal as eye care professionals is to provide each of our patients with the best knowledge regarding their sun protection. It is important when choosing polarized lenses, to know both the advantages and disadvantages. This will ensure that you are making the best choice in your sun protection. 

The Difference Between Non-Polarized and Polarized Lenses

If you’ve ever owned polarized lenses, you would agree that the difference between non-polarized lenses and polarized lenses is night and day! Here are a few reasons why polarized lenses are a good choice when choosing sunglasses!

Polarized Lenses Block Out Reflective Glare

Polarized lenses are often misunderstood. Despite popular belief, they do not necessarily represent an increase in UV protection. Their main goal and advantage lie in their optic design. Polarized lenses absorb and reflect sunlight in different directions. Normal sunglasses provide basic protection against both vertical and horizontal glare. However, it is the reflected horizontal glare that causes interference with our vision. Reflective surfaces like water, cause the most discomfort. Therefore, polarized glasses have a built-in laminated filter that allows only vertical rays to pass through, and blocks out the unwanted horizontal rays.

Polarized Lenses Are Helpful For Certain Activities, Especially Driving

Many people will ask if they really need polarized glasses even if they are not around water often. We advise patients that any activity that involves rapid changes in weather conditions may benefit their vision. Driving is an activity that most people do every day. It is the main reason why we recommend adding polarization to your eyewear. Polarized glasses provide protection against the reflected glare off the road, which often leads to eye fatigue and discomfort. Polarized glasses reduce this glare significantly.

Polarization Increases Visual Comfort

There are many advantages to having polarized sunglasses. Polarization significantly increases visual comfort. This is because as your eyes are no longer challenged by horizontal glare. Therefore, making it easier to view objects in brighter conditions. Polarized glasses also enhance the clarity of vision and contrast for viewing objects in or near water. This is because the glasses stop the glare that is bouncing back from the surface of the water.

Disadvantages Of Polarized Lenses

There are a few scenarios where polarized glasses do pose a slight disadvantage for some patients. Pilots or operators of heavy machines are discouraged from wearing polarized glasses. Pilots looking through the windscreen of an aircraft with polarized glasses on may result in reduced retinal images. Some windscreens may also have a polarized filter built in, resulting in double polarization. (Nakagawara & wood, 2009). Some ATM or LED screens in vehicles may also distort vision, making it difficult to see the image on the screen.

The best way to determine whether non-polarized lenses or polarized lenses are the right for you is to come visit us at the Glenmore Landing Vision Center. We will discuss your lifestyle and needs, and provide you with solutions which will work the best for you!

Article By Brittany Rivette, Licensed Optician

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